Clean Investor, August 23: Institutions back €300m German wind/solar fund

RI’s regular look at clean investment news

German real estate firm KGAL says it has raised more than €300m from institutional investors for its European Sustainable Power Fund 2. The fund, launched in 2010 and still open for subscriptions, makes KGAL “the first major developer of limited partnership funds to offer institutional investors an opportunity to invest in wind and solar energy at the same time”, according to a news release. KGAL’s European Solar Power Fund – dubbed the first cross- border, European photovoltaic fund for institutional investors – has already been fully placed, KGAL added.

Aviva Investors, the asset management house with £269bn (€309.4bn) under management, has made a first closing of the European Renewable Energy Fund it launched with Germany-based funds firm SachsenFonds, according to reports. “There is an increasing appetite for clean energy investments driven by the convergence of natural resource constraints, public policy and technology innovation,” said fund manager Ian Berry. The fund will target renewable energy infrastructure. SachsenFonds link

A consortium of banks – Deutsche Bank, Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen and KfW IPEX-Bank – has made more than €110m of loans for five Italian solar photovoltaic power plants with a combined capacity of 30.4MW, according to a statement. The total investment for the project is €180m with equity capital supplied by KGAL, who initiated funding of the plants.

MSCI ESG Research is hosting a webinar tomorrow (August 24) on the impact of Australia’s planned new carbon tax on companies. It is aimed at pension plans and consultants, portfolio managers, researchers and chief investment officers. Link

Financing the Transformation to a Low-Carbon Economy is a new report from the Sustainability Forum Zürich which summarises its 2010 Symposium. It includes contributions from former UK minister and Chairman of Polaris Wave Power Lord Moynihan, SAM Private Equity Head Roland Pfeuti and TIAACREF Corporate Governance Director John Wilson. It is available here

The Carbon Trust, the not-for-profit low carbon company, has granted up to £390k (€445k) to Wales-based Tidal Energy Ltd, providing 60% of the funding needed to monitor the environmental impacts associated with the deployment of Wales’s first tidal stream renewable energy device off the Pembrokeshire coast.Australia: the parliament today (August 23) backed the world’s first national scheme to regulate the creation and trade of carbon credits from farming and forestry, which will complement the government’s plans for carbon pricing from the middle of next year. Reuters report

Japan: a parliamentary committee today (August 23) approved requiring utilities to buy electricity from solar and other renewable sources, according to Reuters. The bill should now be passed by the upper house as early as this week. “We are steering our wheels toward the promotion of the renewable sector,” said opposition Liberal Democratic member Yasutoshi Nishimura.

NASDAQ-listed brokerage firm BGC Partners has launched BGC Environmental Brokerage Services following the acquisition of Cantor Fitzgerald’s North American environmental brokerage business CantorCO2e. The business will be led by Samantha Unger Katz, who joins from Evolution Markets. CantorCO2e was set up in 1992 and has brokered trades worth more than $10bn. Link

Ludgate Environmental Fund Ltd., the AIM-listed investment company, has made a further £1m investment in UK solar photovoltaic project developer Lumicity. The funding is part of a £2m round in cooperation with cleantech and renewable energy fund ESB Novusmodus. As part of the deal Ludgate Investments’ chief investment officer Bill Weil will get a seat on the Lumicity board.

The prospects for clean energy from nuclear fusion are examined in the New Scientist magazine. It looks at companies in the sector that have either raised or are seeking investment. They include Helion Energy, Tri Alpha Energy – said to be backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen – and Canada-based General Fusion which reportedly has backing from founder Jeff Bezos.

Investors put $930m (€650m) into alternative fuels start-ups in 2010, a four-year low, according to market tracker Lux Research. It found that investment has reached a record $698m for companies with flexible technologies that can use a variety of feedstocks or generate diverse end products. “As this trend continues, start-ups stuck with less flexible technologies will be forced out of the industry,” Lux said.